Reason Alert E-News

Reason Alert: States Ranked on Road Conditions, Cost-Effectiveness

  • Where Does Your State Rank on Traffic Fatalities, Deficient Bridges, Congestion?
  • Video on Earmarks and Aliens
  • New at and

Where Does Your State Rank on Traffic Fatalities, Deficient Bridges, Congestion?
North Dakota does the best job maintaining its roads and bridges and New Jersey has the worst-performing, least cost-effective highway system in the nation, according to an annual Reason Foundation study that measures each state’s road conditions and expenditures. Massachusetts’ roads are the safest; Montana’s are the deadliest. Across the country, 24.1 percent of bridges are deficient or functionally obsolete. In Rhode Island an astonishing 53 percent of bridges are deficient. At our current rate of repair it will take 62 years for today’s deficient bridges to be brought up to date. California has the worst traffic congestion: 83 percent of its urban interstates are congested. But other states are becoming increasingly gridlocked too: 18 states report at least half of their urban interstates are jammed. Even South Dakota has traffic congestion now. The Reason Foundation’s 17th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems, released today, measures the condition of all state-owned roads and highways from 1984 to 2006. The study, by University of North Carolina at Charlotte Transportation Professor David Hartgen, calculates the effectiveness and performance of each state in 12 different categories, including pavement condition, bridge condition, traffic fatalities, congestion, highway maintenance costs, and administrative costs.
» Full Study (.pdf)
» See the State-by-State Rankings
» Deficient Bridges Rankings
» Traffic Fatalities Rankings
» Detailed Spreadsheets, Google Maps, Press Release and More Video on Earmarks and Aliens
While the government was announcing that the federal budget deficit is expected to rise to a record $482 billion next year, the Senate was busy trying to push through a pork-filled package of 35 bills that would have cost taxpayers another $10 billion. Thankfully, Sen. Tom Coburn successfully blocked the bill. In the new video, “Earmarks: The Alien Menace,” Coburn explains why it is so crucial to eliminate the pork and to add transparency to the earmark process.
» Full Video
» Archive of’s Drew Carey Videos
» Jacob Sullum: Sen. Tom Coburn Resists the Tyranny of Good Intentions